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Refresh your muscle memory with this dumbbell circuit

We were just as excited to walk into the gym as we were to sit in a pub for the first time after lockdown. But reuniting with our barbells after a four-month hiatus was also a little overwhelming. Where to begin after weeks of strength training with nothing more than resistance bands and makeshift weights (we owe you one, commuter rucksack)?

These three simple moves are a great way to get back into lifting free weights and building muscle from head to toe. Weighted thruster, it’s good to see you old friend. 

WATCH THE FULL WORKOUT HERE

The experts’ guide to returning to training

Whether you’re returning to weightlifting after a week-long staycation or are picking up dumbbells for the first time in your life, it’s essential to take precautions to avoid injury. What precautions, you ask? Let the experts in our Strong Women Collective talk you through it.

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A BYOK (bring your own kit) philosophy means you can hit the gym while staying as safe as possible. Here’s what to invest in first
KALI ACTIVE / £83
Using someone else’s sweaty boxing gloves = unpleasant. Grab your own pair with perforated palms for ventilation
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MIRAFIT / £12
This thick foamed barbell pad stays in place thanks to its sturdy velcro fastening, and the PVC cover can be wiped down
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COS / £59
You’ll need a roomy bag to lug your kit around in. A rucksack with pleated, expandable fabric means no gear gets left behind
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UYN / £15
If you choose to wear a mask while exercising, make sure it’s breathable and moisture-repelling like this one
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SWEATY BETTY / £40
The smooth surface on this eco-friendly natural latex mat makes for easy cleaning, but is grippy enough so you don't slip
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ARKET / £17
A design that’s been around for 100 years must be good – plus, the large size limits refills at the fountain
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Stuffed peppers are dinner’s main attraction with this immunity-boosting meal

Grilled, roasted or raw – we’ve never met a pepper we didn’t like. But the addition of stuffing has to be our favourite way to serve up this slightly sweet veg. Like a soup and bread bowl, there’s nothing more satisfying than making your way through a hearty filling then getting to eat the vessel it comes in, too.

Let’s break it down: red peppers and carrots are full of vitamin C and fibre, making this the perfect post-workout supper. Plus, it’s high in protein (courtesy of beef), starch (thanks buckwheat) and topped with cheese (because, why wouldn’t you)? Go on – get stuffed.

GET THE RECIPE

Hips feeling tight? Here’s why (and what you can do to stop it)
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Vitamin B12 is vital for a strong body, so here are 12 ways to get more of it
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This adjustable kettlebell was fitness editor Meriam Ahari’s saviour during lockdown – here’s why

What? Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell, £249

What is it? An adjustable kettlebell that combines six different weights into one compact system (3.5, 5.5, 8, 11, 16 and 18kg) to strength train and build muscle.

The verdict: “Without access to a gym over lockdown, I was desperate to get my hands on a range of heavy weights to alternate between upper and lower body exercises. But – as I’m sure you noticed – everyone else had the same idea, meaning dumbbells were either sold out or wildly expensive for one pair.

Then I remembered I had this clever Bowflex kettlebell tucked away in my wardrobe. It comes with a holder containing different layers of weighted plates, and you simply turn a dial to slot your desired weights into the kettlebell. So while it’s pricey, you’re getting your money’s worth – think how much you’d spend on six different sets of weights.

It barely takes up any space, which is ideal for people like me who live in small flats with little storage (again, I couldn’t say the same if I’d bought six separate kettlebells or dumbbells). I use the heavier setting to do deadlifts, rows and squats, and the lighter setting for swings and core twists. Well worth the investment, especially if you aren’t ready to head back to the gym just yet.”

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Image credits: Getty ; Natalya of momsdish.com
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